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CFC Number

1525 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20001

% spent on Administration and Fundraising

Bread for the City

Winner of The Washington Post 2004 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, the agency provides direct services for low-income DC residents: medical care, legal and social services, food and clothing.


Why do we exist?

Bread for the City exists because the low-income residents of DC have great needs that are not being met.  Poverty in the District is extreme, relative to other locations in the country; it hovers around 20% for all people, and exceeds 30% for children.  Based on Census figures, the income of the lowest-earning fifth of DC households (this means 20% of households in the city ? 20%) averages $6,126 per year, roughly $500 a month.  We believe no one should have to choose between paying the rent and buying groceries; unfortunately, our clients are faced with these sort of choices every day.  We also believe that everyone has the right to healthcare, safe housing, food and clothing.  We also believe that the very poor need accessible resources, support and guidance in order to achieve stability for themselves and their families.

We are unique because we offer five critically important services under one roof, at no charge to our clients.  We operate two Centers (one in Shaw and one in Anacostia); each Center offers primary medical care, comprehensive social services, legal advice and representation, food panty that distributes groceries, and a clothing room.  Each client participates in a centralized intake interview, and from there is referred to one or more programs.

Over 10,000 DC residents received help at Bread for the City each month.  We do a massive volume of work, because the need is so immense.  We think one of our clients expressed it beautifully when she wrote a poem for us that concluded ?You picked my life up off the ground and gave it back to me.?

What have you accomplished?

Bread for the City is honored to be winner of The Washington Post 2004 Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.  This highly competitive award recognizes outstanding achievement in nonprofit management at a Washington-area organization. Bread for the City was recognized for its management excellence in a number of areas, including: organizational culture with core values of dignity and respect; strong individual giving program; commitment to planning; ability to quantify results with meaningful metrics; being a good neighbor, and respect for volunteers.

Bread for the City began as a free medical clinic in 1974.  It started because some volunteers at a soup kitchen realized the diners had medical needs, and they created the clinic to help the destitute people who came for the food.  In our thirty years of work, we have helped thousands and thousands of our most needy neighbors.  In addition to the direct services described below, we have been a leader in advocating for changes that benefits the low-income, uninsured residents of our community:  improvements in the court system, improvement in health insurance, improvements in school enrollment for students who are cared for by guardians, to name a few issues where Bread for the City has worked to bring about positive change.

Our direct service work has tremendous impact, last year alone we provided primary medical care to 2,200 people; we treated illness, provided immunizations and medications, we screened for and discovered conditions requiring further care.  We distributed seasonally appropriate clothing and shoes to children and adults in over 12,000 households. We conducted one-on-one interviews with 6,579 clients to learn about their needs and to assess how to help them.  We provided legal assistance to 1,600 households ? this included representing tenants in court to preserve their housing, obtaining child support, to helping disabled persons secure disability benefits.  Our social workers did many things last year; including: assisted clients to find housing, they provided counseling, they provide representative payee services for clients who are unable to manage their financial affairs.  Our food program is a lifeline for many ? we provide a three-day supply of groceries, once a month, to our most vulnerable residents, the disabled, the elderly, and parents with children at home.  We feed over 10,000 people each month.

Mr. P. has been a client at Bread For the City since 1996. He has cognitive limitations that have left him unable to read or write anything other than his name. In December 2003, Mr. P. suffered a hemorrhage in his brain and was hospitalized for a week. He has recovered nicely, but this incident naturally caused him to ponder his own mortality and to look at his life more closely. Because of this, Mr. P. decided he wanted to learn to read. Within a few days of voicing this desire, he and his case manager met with Literacy Volunteers of America, where Mr. P. will now be a student learning to read and write. They offer a class focusing on learning to read the bible, and this greatly appealed to Mr. P., who will attend weekly lessons and will then be assigned an individual tutor. Prior to this, Mr. P. was reluctant to admit that he could not read and write.  This medical emergency appears to have changed Mr. P.?s views on his limitations, allowing him to better his future.

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 This Profile was last updated on: 11/26/2007
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